WWE Survivor Series 2011 Flashback: The Rock and John Cena vs. Awesome Truth, Alberto Del Rio vs. C.M. Punk for the WWE Championship, Mark Henry vs. Big Show for the World Hvt. Championship
The following is Jason Powell's "Live Coverage" report of the November 20, 2011 WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view. Check back tonight for live coverage of the 2012 Survivor Series from Jason Powell and Chris Shore beginning with the free preview match at 6:30 p.m. CT. Dot Net Members can look forward to their exclusive audio review on Sunday night. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
WWE Survivor Series
Aired live on pay-per-view
New York, N.Y. at Madison Square Garden
A video package opened the show... Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T introduced the show from ringside... John Laurinaitis walked onto the stage and boasted that it was not only the 25th anniversary of Survivor Series, but it's also his ten-year anniversary with the company...
Powell's POV: The set is very impressive with the usual big screen in the middle and two long screens that show the images of the wrestlers as they come out. The result of the dark match is available on the main page if you missed it.
1. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) defeated John Morrison to retain the U.S. Championship in 10:45. Cole complained that Morrison shouldn't even have a U.S. Title match because he ended a losing streak just last week. He was interrupted for the shot of the Spanish broadcast team.
A loud "We Want Ryder" chant broke out in the crowd as the match started. The announcers mentioned Twitter at least three times in the first ten minutes of the show. Do not turn it into a drinking contest or you'll end up like Amy Winehouse. Booker T said he doesn't mind Ziggler taking shortcuts. I guess Booker wasn't a babyface for 30 seconds. History suggests he'll condemn a babyface for the same actions later tonight.
The pro-Ryder crowd booed when Morrison was on the offensive at one point. Vickie saved Ziggler by putting his foot on the bottom rope to break up a pin. The referee booted her from ringside and she screamed like crazy before heading to the back. In the end, Ziggler hit the Zig Zag and scored the pin...
After the match, Vickie ran out and did the "excuse me" bit. Ziggler boasted that he'd hate to have to follow his match. He said it's not boasting or showing off if you're "really, really good at what you do." The crowd chanted for Ryder. Ziggler said he wasn't there and then wrapped up his promo.
Ryder's music hit and he ran to the ring. Ziggler got the better of the exchange at first, but Ryder came back and cleared Dolph from the ring. He led the crowd in "woo, woo, woo" fist pumps...
Powell's POV: It's definitely a pro-Ryder crowd. I was hoping they would have made the crowd wait until later tonight and then have Ziggler boast that he was going to wrestle in three matches in one night, only to have Ryder beat him. Ryder's involvement was actually underwhelming, though it likely gave his fans enough of a taste that they won't be chanting for him all night. Good opening match.
2. Beth Phoenix defeated Eve in a Lumberjill match to retain the WWE Divas Championship in 4:30. The Lumberjills were Kelly Kelly, The Bella Twins, Natalya, AJ, Kaitlyn, Alicia Fox, Tamina, Maxine, Aksana, and Rosa Mendes. The crowd was very quiet once the match started. Beth performed a Glam Slam off the second rope and scored the clean pin...
Powell's POV: Quick, painless, and a cool finisher. The lumberjills didn't really serve a purpose. They threw Beth back inside the ring during the opening minute. Otherwise, they served as eye candy to the fans at ringside.
A WWE12 video game commercial aired...
Backstage, David Otunga entered C.M. Punk's locker room. He threatened Punk with a lawsuit for putting his hands on Michael Cole on Raw. Punk called it "a loudmouth dork getting what he deserves." Otunga said John Laurinaitis wanted Punk to apologize to Cole. Punk said he would think about it right after he wins the WWE Championship. Punk mocked Otunga's bow tie...
The Rock was shown standing in front of the interview set backstage. Rock recalled watching his grandfather at MSG, and hanging out backstage with Andre The Giant. He also recalled watching his father win the WWF Tag Titles. They actually censored the WWF mention. Yes, really.
Rock said MSG is the first place that the fans chanted his name. He said that night started an epic odyssey that will go down in WWE history. He listed his top catchphrases from over the years. Rock said he became The People's Champion when the crowd chanted his name at MSG.
Rock said The People's Era begins tonight. "Finally, The Rock has come back to New York City," he said (along with help from the fired up crowd). The fans chanted his name. Rock addressed Awesome Truth by saying it's as simple as "boots to asses." That was it for Awesome Truth.
Rock turned his attention to John Cena. The mere mention of his name drew to loud booing from the crowd. Rock said he doesn't come alone. He said he and the 17,000 fans are going to take a lightning bolt and "stick it straight up your ovulating lady parts." The fans chanted "lady parts," which got a smile out of Rock.
The Rock recalled Frank Sinatra performing at MSG, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier delivering the fight of the century at MSG, and said tonight he wakes up in the city that never sleeps. Rock led the live crowd in singing Sinatra's "New York, New York." Once he finished, the fans chanted "Rocky." Rock said it's going to be boots to asses all night long, and then delivered a revved up "If you smell what The Rock is cooking" line to close the promo...
Powell's POV: Fun promo and singalong. He had to stop and encourage the fans to sing along with him, but they did join in. It's definitely a pro-Rock crowd, which should not surprise anyone. They booed like crazy when Cena's name was mentioned, and it will be interesting to see if he gets the same reaction when he actually appears.
3. Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Hunico, and Cody Rhodes defeated Randy Orton, Sheamus, Mason Ryan, Sin Cara, and Kofi Kingston in a Survivor Series elimination match in 22:05. Cody Rhodes finally has knee pads!!! Do you believe in miracles? The crowd popped for Cody's entrance. He received a better reaction than Mason Ryan, who was greeted by the sounds of crickets when he stood on the second rope and played to the fans.
Randy Orton hit the RKO on Ziggler early. He pulled him away from the heel corner to the center of the ring. Ziggler was eliminated by Orton at 1:30. Barrett took the heels to ringside for a brief meeting, which Orton quickly broke up.
Sin Cara and Kingston performed a double dive onto a pair of heels at ringside. Sin Cara never even hit Hunico. Rather, he performed the dive awkwardly and caught his head on the ropes. He came up holding his ankle in pain even though he didn't seem to put much weight on it given the odd way he fell. Sin Cara was eliminated via countout around 3:30. Trainers tended to Sin Cara on the floor as the match continued.
With Sin Cara out, there was another "We Want Ryder" chant. Later, Cody made a blind tag. He caught a surprised Ryan with a kick and followed up with Cross Rhodes. Mason Ryan was eliminated by Cody Rhodes in 8:50. The crowd chanted Cody's name after the surprising elimination. It's all about the knee pads!
Later, Barrett hit Wasteland on Kingston. Kofi Kingston was eliminated by Wade Barrett at 14:20. The announcers played up that the heel team had a four to two advantage with only Orton and Sheamus remaining. Let the slaughter begin. Cody suffered a cut around his eyebrow that produced some blood.
Cody went for a bulldog on Orton, who blocked it and pushed Rhodes high into the air while avoiding the move. Sheamus and Swagger ended up in the ring together. Sheamus ended up hitting Swagger with repeated knees until the referee called for the bell. Sheamus was eliminated when he was disqualified for ignoring the ref's five count at 18:30. Okay, know let the slaughter begin?
Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick on Swagger before leaving. Orton took advantage of it and pinned him. Swagger was eliminated by Randy Orton in 19:35. Cody entered the ring and put the boots to Orton. The announcers said Orton was hurting. Booker said the ref should stop the match because Orton won't quit.
Orton hit some of his signature offense on Rhodes, including the DDT off the second rope. Orton set up for the RKO, but Barrett distracted him. Cody tagged in Hunico, who did a springboard right into the RKo. Hunico was eliminated by Orton at 21:30. Orton hit the RKO on Cody, but Barrett followed up with Wasteland. Orton was eliminated by Barrett to end the match in 22:05.
Powell's POV: Good booking. Sheamus was protected and Orton loses nothing given that the announcers stressed that he was a victim to the numbers game. I was surprised to see Ryan lose decisively. It will be interesting to see how he's presented in the weeks ahead. Meanwhile, Cody received a big reaction from the crowd and felt like a bigger star than Barrett.
Backstage, Alberto Del Rio spoke with John Laurinaitis and said he'll leave the building as the WWE Champion. He said he won't lose to a guy who should be sleeping on the sidewalk on Wall Street. Laurinaitis went back to texting after Del Rio left the picture...
An anti-bullying spot aired... The announcers hyped the World Hvt. Championship match. Actor Judah Friedlander was behind them holding up a "Cole fears me" sign. Meanwhile, the crew was "reinforcing" the ring. A video set up the title match...
4. Big Show defeated Mark Henry by DQ in a a World Hvt. Championship match in 13:05. Show came out with his fists taped. The announcers hyped TLC for December 18 in Baltimore. It's a Kevin Eck homecoming celebration. The crowd chanted "Sexual Chocolate" before the opening bell. Funny. There was a "D-Lo Brown" chant a few minutes later.
Powell's POV: ...and new TNA Champion, D-Lo Brown!!!
Cole was nice enough to inform us that Big Show vs. Mark Henry is trending worldwide. The match was slow early on (hence some of the chants). Henry clipped Show's knee and then targeted it with various moves. Booker said Henry wrecked Show's knee before so it's good strategy. Nice call.
A loud "boring" chant started just before the six minute mark. Show hit a DDT on Henry, which stopped the chant. At 7:10, Henry scooped up Show and hit the World's Strongest Slam for a near fall. He followed up with a splash, but Show kicked out again. Booker encouraged the heel Henry to pick him up, slam him, and get the hell out. The fans chanted "Undertaker" briefly.
They went to ringside, where Henry tackled Show and they crashed through the barricade. Although the spot is hardly new, it was successful in that it drew a "holy shit" from the live crowd. Show struggled to get back inside the ring, but he was able to beat the count.
Show took control of the match and went to the top rope. He took quite a while to brace himself, but he eventually hit a top rope elbow drop, which got a huge pop from the crowd. Show made the cover, but Henry kicked out at two. The crowd chanted "Randy Savage." Show motioned for knockout punch. Henry avoided it and kicked Show in the balls for the DQ.
After the match, Show went to ringside and grabbed a chair. He scared off the referee and turned his attention to Show. Henry wrapped the chair around Show's ankle and went to the corner. Henry went for a Vader Bomb, but Show moved. Show stood up and delivered the knockout punch on Henry.
The fans chanted for Daniel Bryan to cash in the Money in the Bank contract. Show picked up the chair and wrapped Henry's leg inside. He performed a leg drop on the chair. Trainers ran out to assist Henry, who sold the ankle injury. Show left the ring as they set up a stretcher next to the ring.
Henry told the trainers to leave him alone. "Oh my God," Henry said. "It's broke." Henry yelled at the trainers and they had to censor him saying shit. They immediately cut to a video game commercial...
Powell's POV: The opening minutes were slow, but the fast-paced Survivor Series elimination match was a tough act to follow. I'm surprised they put these two on right after that match. The Divas match would have been a good buffer. Show's top rope elbow won the crowd over, but there were plenty of groans over that finish. I said going in that I'd be fine with anything that resulted in Henry retaining the title. It wasn't very creative, but I'll take it.
Backstage, Matt Striker interview Wade Barrett, who said the Barrett Barrage is unstoppable. He said he wants to be England's first WWE Champion. The Miz and R-Truth showed up and asked whether it's really about the Barrett Barrage. Barrett said Charlie Sheen calls it winning and then walked off. Ugh.
Awesome Truth delivered a promo. They claimed to be the most charismatic tag team of all time. Truth bitched that they don't have their own billboard in Times Square. The crowd gave him the "What?" treatment, which he encouraged by complaining about it. They compared Rock and Cena to pigeons and said they are nothing but crap...
Powell's POV: The crowd didn't treat them like main eventers, nor did the promo come across like main event material.
Justin Roberts introduced members of the U.S. Military at ringside. The fans stood up and chanted "USA" briefly. Cool moment...
Ricardo handled the introduction for Del Rio, who drove a sports car into the arena. The crowd chanted for Punk leading into his introduction. Roberts introduced WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel to serve as Punk's personal ring announcer. Howard walked onto the stage and the fans chanted his name. Awesome touch. Howard soaked up the cheers and then awkwardly waited for his cue before delivering a kick ass introduction of Punk...
Powell's POV: Great idea. As much as we bitch about Jim Ross not being on commentary, it's also ridiculous that we don't get more of The Fink doing ring introductions. He's phenomenal.
5. C.M. Punk defeated Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) to win the WWE Championship in 17:15. Cole said the WWE Championship has changed 15 times at MSG, more than any other arena. The fans chanted for ice cream as the match started. Loud chants for Punk followed, along with a loud "Colt Cabana" chant. The New York crowd has been awesome thus far.
The announcers said The Fink was trending worldwide. As awesome as that is because it's The Fink, so is American Dad, Bootsy Collins, R-Truth, Gloria Estefan, and Just Dance 3. After some back and forth action, Ricardo punched Punk, who then chased him around the ring only to run into a kick through the ropes from Del Rio. Cool spot that may actually put some genuine heat on Ricardo for a change.
Del Rio went after Punk's left shoulder throughout the match. Punk went up top at 13:50, but Del Rio tripped him up to cut him off. Del Rio charged at Punk, who pulled himself backup, causing Del Rio to charge through the ropes. Punk followed up with a top rope elbow drop. Another Randy Savage chant broke out.
Punk stomped his foot and signalled for the GTS. He got Del Rio up, but he fought out of it Del Rio avoided a kick from Punk and applied the cross armbreaker. A loud Punk chant broke out, and he reached the ropes with his feet. Cole questioned whether the damage had been done.
Punk knocked Ricardo off the ring apron with a kick. Del Rio rolled up Punk and held the tights for a great near fall. Punk came back with the Anaconda Vice. Del Rio clawed at his nose and face only to eventually tap out. Punk left the ring and dove into the crowd where he celebrated with the fans. Howard Finkel announced Punk as the NEW WWE Champion. Punk headed back to ringside and then dove into the crowd again to continue the celebration.
Powell's POV: A very entertaining match, especially during the closing minutes. I am surprised they didn't save this for TLC next month, but lord knows Vince McMahon loves MSG. Plus, you had to know that we'd hear The Fink deliver the "NEW WWE Champion" line. No complaints about Punk winning here aside from where that leaves things heading into TLC. A very cool moment with a live crowd that was behind him 100 percent.
A Steve Austin DVD ad aired... A video chronicled The Rock's early days and his teaming with John Cena, the tension between the two, and set up their match against Awesome Truth...
Powell's POV: Where in the hell were videos like that when they were building to this show on Raw over the last month? This would have sold some pay-per-views.
Awesome Truth was introduced first. They came out singing the "You Suck" song. Congrats to Truth for rhyming "face" with "face." I wonder how long it took him to come up with that one? They did the long pause, which allowed some "Cena sucks" chants to start. Cena came out and some little kids jumped up and down, while 99 percent of the MSG fans booed. "They love me here," Cena said with a smile into the camera.
They did the long pause again, which led to "If you smell..." followed by The Rock's return. He came out rapping "I don't suck" back at the heels. Okay, that's a lie. He came out in his boots and trunks and headed intently to the ring, where he stood on the second rope and played to the crowd, which was on its feet. Once the music stopped, loud "Rocky" and "Boots to Asses" chants started...
6. The Rock and John Cena defeated The Miz and R-Truth in 21:35. Cena gave his shirt to Arnold Skaaland's widow. Loud "Rocky" chants started as The Rock and The Miz started the match. Rock dominated The Miz early on. "You still got it," chanted the crowd at Rock, who looked at a smirking Cena. Miz was about to try again, but this time R-Truth stopped him and said, "I want him." Rock motioned for Truth to bring it.
There actually are some Cena fans in the building, as there was a loud "Let's Go Cena" chant (followed by "Cena sucks"). Rock had Truth pinned with a suplex into a bridge, but the ref was busy pulling Cena out of the ring following a fight with Cena. Rock scolded a smirking Cena. Miz asked for the tag again and Truth obliged as the "Boots to Asses" chants continued for Rock.
Rock tagged Cena into the match at 5:00. There were way more boos than cheers and a loud "You can't wrestle" chant followed. Cena got the better of The Miz and capped it off with a nice dropkick. "You still suck," the crowd chanted. Cena got the better of Truth and then did the "You can't see me" bit by Rock. The Rock entered the ring and glared at Cena, only to have Truth attack Cena. Rock slowly headed back to his corner, only after threatening to backhand referee Mike Chioda.
The heels took control of the match and worked over Cena. Things slowed down and the crowd settled in. Cena tried making a tag several times, but he couldn't reach the corner. Cena came back and hit some of his signature moves on the heels. Cena inched toward the corner and the crowd chanted "Rocky."
Miz ran over and punched Rock while he was waiting for the tag. Truth ran over and attacked Rock, which included dropping him throat first over the barrier at ringside. Rock made a quick recovery and ran back inside the ring, only to have the referee cut him off. The heels went back to work on Cena.
Rock finally took the hot tag shortly before the 20 minute mark. Rock put Miz in the Sharpshooter. The Miz was on the verge of tapping when R-Truth entered the ring and broke it up. The Miz went back to work on Rock and the stopped to jaw at the crowd. The Rock caught him with a spinebuster.
The camera pulled back as Rock stood over Miz and threw his elbow pad into the crowd. The Rock performed The People's Elbow on The Miz and pinned him clean to end the match.
After the match, Rock played to the live crowd while standing on the second rope. Cena stood at ringside and applauded. Cena put his hands on his hips, smirked, and nodded at Rock, who put his hands up and called for his music to stop. Rock motioned for Cena to join him in the ring.
Cena entered the ring to boos and smiled at the crowd. Rock stood on the ropes and played to the crowd, which drew big cheers and a "Rocky" chant. Cena went to the ropes and smiled, which drew boos from the fans. Rock shook his head in a negative way at Cena.
Rock said something to Cena and then went back to the second rope. He raised his hand and got the big cheer again. He looked back down at Cena, who had a serious look on his face while standing with his hands on his hips. Lawler asked if Rock wasjust rubbing it in Cena's face.
Rock and Cena met in the middle of the ring and jawed without a mic. Cena put up his hands and turned to leave the ring, only to have Rock grab him, pull him in, and hit him with The Rock Bottom. Cena rolled out to ringside, as Cole called that the opening blow to their feud. Booker said something about payback being a you know what. Cena sold the move at ringside before heading to the back.
The Rock continued to play to the live crowd after Cena. Rock patted his heart and then banged his chest while thanking the fans. "Boots to asses all night long," Rock mouthed while standing on the second rope. He pointed at the camera and the fans and said, "For you and for you, thank you." Rock raised his fist while standing on the ropes in the corner to close the show...
Powell's POV: An entertaining main event. Rock looked smooth during the match and not like a guy who has been away for seven years. The outcome was a little anticlimactic. Sure, I think a lot of us picked Awesome Truth because we were hoping for more of an implosion from Rock and Cena, but WWE decided to send the fans home happy.
It was Rock's night to get the better of Cena. The question now is how long we will have to wait for Cena to even the score. Their interaction was intriguing while it was happening, yet it wasn't all that memorable. Fortunately, The Rock returning to the ring was memorable and the overall show was strong. A good night from WWE even if the Rock and Cena storyline wasn't forwarded in a major way. I'd love it if the crowd's reaction to Cena was expected and designed to give him motivation for a heel turn, but seeing is believing.
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